Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Memorial to Many Filled Jars

This post has been brewing in my head since September – first it was going to be an excited gushing about how much fun canning is, how beautiful the process and the results all tucked away for later days. Then, when I still hadn't posted by November, it was going to be a bittersweet recognition that yes, summer was over, but it was okay because I had evidence that it existed right up there in my cupboard, I could taste it still. Then, a couple of weeks later when I opened the first jar of pickles, it was going to be a confession of mine and Darryl's instant addiction to homemade pickles, our inability to eat anything less than the whole jar at one time. Those pickles were so amazing, I know you can't even imagine how good they tasted.

But now, it's January and my no holds barred philosophy has left me with many empty jars and only a couple still filled with deliciousness. So now this post is a promise to can everything I can get my hands on next fall.

Besides the legendary pickles....

...we canned 50 lbs of whole tomatoes from my Mom's favourite farm in Saanich...
(pushing them into the jars was the funnest part, after which they became kind of alien...)
... unbeatable tomato basil pasta sauce, and...

... zucchini salsa!
The recipe for this salsa comes from my Aunt, and it's amazing. Here it is, so you can make your own and love love love it. If you're not up for canning, or don't have the equipment, you could make a smaller batch and just keep it in the fridge.

Aunt Shelagh's Zucchini Salsa
10 cups grated zucchini (use food processor)
3 cups green onions
3-8 jalepenos (depending on how spicy you like it – 5 or 6 turned out perfect for us this time)
5 tbsp salt

Mix these 4 ingredients together and let stand overnight. In the morning, rinse the mixture very well (to remove salt) and drain. Then add the following:

5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cumin
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
2 cups white vinegar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp tumeric
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste

Boil everything in a pot for 30 minutes, stirring often. Fill jars and process 15 minutes in canner.
So, just a couple more points about canning and then this post is really done (and after only 5 months!):
  • A delicious thank you to everyone who gave me canning for Christmas – I've been enjoying pickled beets, roasted red peppers, mango salsa, and kiwi pineapple jam, with orange cranberry marmalade, peach pear raspberry jam and pomegranate jelly still sitting pretty and safe in the cupboard.
  • A few of those mentioned above were given to me by my mom and originated at the Moss Street Market in Victoria, where Jennifer of Forward Thinking Foods sells her creative and absolutely gorgeous preserves, pickles, chutneys and marmalades. Check out her blog for canning inspiration.
  • And, if you want a closer look at the canning adventure we had in September – complete with steam – it's documented in this flicker set: Canning for the very first time.
Until next summer... which actually now isn't that far away, right?

1 comment:

moyrad said...

All those canninged goods look very delicious. I am eyeing the pickles and salsa. I would love to try canning this year.

It reminds me of the summer I worked on my aunt's farm and ravenous picklers would whisk bushels and bushels of pickles of all sizes as fast as they could be picked. As well as the 4 foot tall bundles of dill, the smell filling the air. This smell did entice me into giving dill pickles another chance. Now I do have a particular love of Mrs Whyte's Cloudy Briny Pickles. Maybe I should try to replicate them.

I think the time it took to post gave you the whole view and evolution of the canning process and why people love to do it.